Housing project at Stateline to go before TRPA board | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Housing project at Stateline to go before TRPA board

A controversial proposal for a six-acre, 50-unit subdivision off Lake Village Drive at Stateline could be approved by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency on Wednesday.

The environmental impact statement for Sierra Colina Village is up for review and possible certification by the planning agency’s governing board during a two-day meeting starting on Wednesday. Discussion on the project is scheduled to begin no earlier than 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, according to the meeting’s agenda.

Twenty-one duplexes and eight single-family homes near Burke Creek are proposed as part of the project. Construction could begin this year if the proposal passes, according to the project’s environmental document.

Sierra Colina Village has been opposed by residents of Lake Village, a nearby condominium complex, as well as Lake Tahoe Basin environmental groups.

The League to Save Lake Tahoe and the Tahoe Area Sierra Club have opposed the development on a variety of grounds, the most prominent of which are concerns that the project will harm water quality.

“The most glaring, immitigable impact that the Sierra Colina Village proposes is turning raw, undeveloped land into thousands of square feet of impermeable coverage in the form of a new subdivision,” said League Program Staff member Melissa Thaw in a letter submitted during the public comment period for the environmental document last year.

“Until TRPA thresholds are attained for water quality, new subdivisions should not even be considered, as urban run-off is known to have the most detrimental impact on lake clarity than any other source,” Thaw added.

In responding to the concerns, EDAW, the consulting firm that wrote the project’s environmental document, contends the project contains features, like a storm water treatment system, that will improve water quality in the area.

The land is classified as urban in the planning agency’s plan area statement for the site and can be developed under TRPA regulations, according to EDAW’s response.

The League and the Sierra Club have also asked for a conservation alternative to be considered in the environmental document, noting at least one attempt by the U.S. Forest Service to buy the property in 2005.

The environmental document states the owner of the property, Sierra Colina LLC, made several offers to sell the land for conservation purposes in 2005 and 2006, none of which panned out.

Because previous attempts to purchase the land did not work out, the land is no longer on the Forest Service’s list of potential acquisitions, said spokeswoman Cheva Heck.

The potential for daily traffic problems as a result of the project, as well as how the narrow road accessing the development would function in an emergency, have been the focus of concerns from residents of Lake Village.

“Trying to get in and out of Lake Village is at this point is difficult at best; I cannot imagine what will happen when we add another 50 units,” said Lake Village home owner Walter Gesek in a public comment letter. “The first thing that comes to mind is the Angora fires of late. I am troubled by the thought of having emergency vehicles trying to get into the area as all of us try to get out.”

Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District has reviewed the project and found that it meets their safety requirements, according to the response from EDAW.

“Although assessment of the nature, size and severity of any particular emergency situation would be speculative, there is no evidence to suggest that the addition of 50 units would substantially impair ingress to, or egress from, the site,” according to the response.

Mitigation measures for the daily traffic concerns are expected to include dedicated left- and right-hand turn lanes on Lake Village Drive where it intersects Highway 50 and a westbound acceleration lane on Highway 50 lane at Lake Village Drive.

Several residents have indicated they’d like to see a stop light on Highway 50 at Lake Village Drive to reduce the number of crashes at the intersection.

Nine deed-restricted moderate-income units – to be offered to permanent residents whose income is 120 percent of Douglas County’s median income or less – are also planned as part of the project. Median household income in Douglas County in 2007 was $60,982, according to U.S. Census figures.

What the environmental document for a proposed 230-unit hotel, spa, wellness center, restaurant and meeting space at Edgewood-Tahoe Golf Course should contain will be the topic of discussion by the governing board on Thursday.

A “scoping” meeting will be held to determine what environmental issues need to be examined relating to the project as it heads into the environmental review process.

In addition to the hotel, the proposal includes modifications to the golf course, covered parking, wetland restoration, tree removal and public beach access. The environmental document is likely to consider three levels of development for the project, according to a TRPA staff report.

Scoping comments about the project can be submitted until July 6, according to a TRPA staff report.

Although the Edgewood Hotel scoping meeting is scheduled for Thursday, a specific time for the hearing had not been set.

– The governing board could approve the El Dorado Beach portion of the Lakeview Commons project in South Lake Tahoe.

Tahoe Regional Planning Agency staff have determined improvements at the beach will not create significant environmental effects.

The item is on the meetings consents agenda, meaning the board may approve the project without discussion.

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